Phillies Interested in Lee? Not So Fast.

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Phillies Interested in Lee? Not So Fast.
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Lately the trade rumors regarding Cliff Lee have taken a turn and have begun to include Arizona ace Dan Haren, and many have suggested that the Phillies may look to acquire Haren. 

I find it hard to believe that the Phillies actually have a chance to acquire Dan Haren, or any top pitcher for that matter. To get things rolling, it's only appropriate to once again mention one of the main factors the Phillies had for trading Cliff Lee back in December — their farm system was in trouble. 

So with 1 month (30 days (4 weeks)) left to make trades (without dealing with Waivers), it seems unlikely that a team who has a struggling old LF, 3 infielders who are either on the Disabled List or have been on the Disabled List (Rollins, Polanco, Utley — 5-6 weeks), would waste what little talent is left in their farm system to acquire Dan Haren, when you already have Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels in the rotation. The big issue with the Phillies is their back 3 — Moyer is actually pitching fairly well but who knows how much longer he will be effective given his age, and Kendrick and Blanton have been downright awful. 

Another issue last December was that the Phillies couldn't afford to keep Lee and Halladay and sign them both to long-term, $20+ million contracts. I can understand that Haren has about $13M on his contract next year, but also keep in mind that the Phillies signed 1B Ryan Howard to that ridiculous $125M contract not too long ago. I just can't envision the Phillies taking on more salary. 

Another thing to look at is the prospects they have to offer. Their names are J.A. Happ and Dominic Brown. I can tell you already that the Phillies probably envision Happ in their rotation in a year or two from now; and if the Phillies trade Dominic Brown, that wipes away their stance from last season's trade deadline where they refused to move Brown for Halladay. Brown is their only "blue-chip" prospect that is above Class-A level, and trading him would be absolutely necessary in order to acquire Haren. The competition amongst other teams is too strong and I can't envision other teams backing out. I think Ted Lilly may be a smarter target for the Phillies, because there is less competition and less prospects necessary to acquire him. 

So hold your hats Mets fans. Don't look at the "Haren and Phillies" rumors and jump out of your boots as I did yesterday morning. The Phillies acquiring Haren will almost certainly never happen seeing as their offense is in shambles as was the Mets offense in 2009, and if they were to move Brown and/or Happ to get Haren, you could almost guarantee the Phillies would be an ugly mess in 3 years, the exact time when guys like Ike Davis, Ruben Tejada, Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese are in the prime of their careers.

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